Cookstown man wins Dementia Achievements Award

Shea Flanagan receiving his award from Health Minister Edwin Poots.
Shea Flanagan receiving his award from Health Minister Edwin Poots.

SHEA Flanagan, a volunteer in the Northern Trust’s Cookstown Community Mental Health Team for Older People, won a Volunteer of the Year Award at the recent Dementia Achievements Conference.

The awards are a celebration of innovation and good practice and recognise those who have improved the quality of life of people living with dementia. They were organised by the Dementia Services Development Centre and presented by Health Minister Edwin Poots.

Shea gives support to a service user in his late 60s with dementia who was isolated and lost his confidence due to the condition. He introduced him to the internet by drawing up a step by step easy guide and helped him to use Skype and talk to his grandson who lives abroad.

The service user said, “Shea has supported me to connect again with life. I used to sit in my chair looking out at life, now I have a life again. He has given me the gift of his time, energy and companionship. He treats me as a good friend, values me and my illness comes second.”

Sheelagh Ross, Senior Community Support Worker for Northern Trust said, “We are delighted that Shea won this Award which is very much deserved. He has made a great difference to the service user’s life. It is clear that as lifestyles and interests change, how people wish to engage in volunteering is also changing . It is exciting our team of volunteers can meet this change and provide creative ways of engaging and offering volunteering.”